If it happens to be in Kanab it comes without saying that you have to play in the lottery for the “Wave”. I registered and heard again all sort of stories of people who tried so many times with no luck to get a permit, of couple separated by the permits, kids left unattended, etc. The most tries, 11, were registered by a Korean man but even in the room today were people who tried 6 times coming repeatedly in Kanab for it. So when the lottery ended and I did not win I was relieved that I did not take away a precious permit after I had the chance last year and won.
This opened also a set of possibilities for my schedule and I left right away on Johnson Canyon Road on a beautiful paved road that snakes through the huge white walls of the canyon. After about 30 miles the road turns right on a well maintained dirt road, Skutumpah Road that goes all the way to Cannonville, close to Bryce Canyon. This is one of the dirt roads that crosses Grand Staircase-Escalante, a wilderness area that does not have any services and where the cell phone is dead for the entire day.
The road, like the entire area, is full of slot canons and the first stop was at the head trail of Lick Wash, a dry bed that crosses through tall walls detailed by the water rushing through in the rainy season.
The canyon has a slot part at the beginning but it continues with a dry bed that becomes wider and wider, the tall rocks that are guarding it departing from the wash.
After I changed a flat, not surprising on a dirt road like this, I stopped at Bull Valley Gorge, a canyon so deep that you could not see its bottom except if you hang on its rim without any support. The apparent bottomless canyon looked to go forever and walking on its rim you could get an occasional glimpse of some sand from its ground. But surprisingly after about 15 minutes walk on its rim the bottom of the canyon raises and becomes a very boring dry wash. You could jump into it and reverse the walk inside the canyon to a point where it looked that if you would flow down like the water does you may not be able to jump back up so I decided to turn there.
The last but the most spectacular turned out to be Willis Creek, a tall slot canyon with 3 sets of slots that has water still running in it. It goes for about 2 miles and meet a dry bed but the slots becoming taller and taller disappear after about 1 mile and the canyon widens.
Willis Creek is close to the end of the road that goes in Cannonville from where I continued to Escalante where I may stay for a while.